Mobile Commerce Forum Highlights

Dave LawsonBecause I’m a mobile enthusiast, an event solely focused on how mobile is currently impacting commerce is close to nirvana for me. So I was excited to be there with the Knotice team at the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Forum in Chicago.
Here’s a recap of ideas and trends as discussed by leaders, well-known analysts, and industry experts in mobile commerce solutions who presented at the show.

In a session on day one of the conference, Sucharita Mulpuru of Forrester spoke to the opportunities for mobile to drive commerce. The opportunities for mobile-influenced revenue (driving foot traffic, linking to PC, augmenting in-store experiences, etc.) dwarfed the percentages of transactions that will occur solely on a single device. This really drives home the fact that today’s customers view the mobile channel as a necessary ingredient in their active lifestyles. The mobile consumer will rely on email, SMS, mobile web, search, video, apps, and more to influence how they run their day and where they ultimately spend their dollars (discretionary or otherwise).

Most compelling were the informed brand “testimonials” from Finish Line, The Catholic Company, Steve Madden Shoes, Crutchfield.com, ShopNBC, Walgreens, and 1-800-Flowers.com, among others. Executives from each brand shared real-life experiences from initial trials and experiences. Each had some common elements when integrating the mobile channel into existing customer-facing efforts.

Highlights and “Take Aways”

There should be no such a thing as a “mobile strategy” – only the acknowledgement that multi-channel consumerism is real and is growing. Having a singular “mobile strategy” could create an additional silo for your teams to be responsible for, which can serve to limit the possibility of multi-channel interactions.Limiting strategy to interactions that are exclusive to phone-based devices and you will likely miss opportunities to innovate across the board. Instead, integrate across your enterprise, as nearly every interaction your brand could have potentially has some mobile implications to it.

Tactics should be executed quickly; strategies should be constantly re-evaluated. Brands that haven’t yet begun their efforts in mobile are not too far behind to catch up quickly. However, the brand that takes 12 months to launch their mobile website or app will likely be building a digital destination to meet market conditions that are out of date. The mobile landscape today is fast-changing and nimble execution once a direction has been chosen is key. Be comfortable with a “fail fast” approach. Optimize your approach by being honest with your customers and by choosing partners who can be there for you every step of the way.

Brands win by delivering the best customer experience, one that is both relevant and valuable. This can take many forms, including relevant messaging, user-friendly design, the right context of communications, and where a brand decides to develop an offering. The experience you offer your consumers via mobile should authentically reflect the role that your core offering can play in their lives. Some of these roles can include: being a trusted resource for information; offering ideas, discovery or inspiration; becoming a trusted advisor, and so on. Whichever is right for you, the experience should be useful, engaging, consistent across each active channel you engage, and, when at all possible, personalized and efficient.

Some common topics that these brands (and others) continue to debate:

It was good to see that our approach to mobile solutions was reinforced by others within the industry. For us, mobile isn’t just about building lists from keywords and pushing coupons and offers. It is to deliver a portal into understanding what interactions your customers are having with you across varied channels, and to allow you to strategically place the right message in the right place at the right time based on the needs of your customers to advance your business.

There were so many fantastic points and discussions during the conference. Did I miss anything that you thought was important? Please share with your comment!

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